'To Ellen, At The South' by Ralph Waldo Emerson
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The green grass is growing,
The morning wind is in it,
'Tis a tune worth the knowing,
Though it change every minute.
'Tis a tune of the spring,
Every year plays it over,
To the robin on the wing,
To the pausing lover.
O'er ten thousand thousand acres
Goes light the nimble zephyr,
The flowers, tiny feet of shakers,
Worship him ever.
Hark to the winning sound!
They summon thee, dearest,
Saying; "We have drest for thee the ground,
Nor yet thou appearest.
"O hasten, 'tis our time,
Ere yet the red summer
Scorch our delicate prime,
Loved of bee, the tawny hummer.
"O pride of thy race!
Sad in sooth it were to ours,
If our brief tribe miss thy face,—
We pour New England flowers.
"Fairest! choose the fairest members
Of our lithe society;
June's glories and September's
Show our love and piety.
"Thou shalt command us all,
April's cowslip, summer's clover
To the gentian in the fall,
Blue-eyed pet of blue-eyed lover.
"O come, then, quickly come,
We are budding, we are blowing,
And the wind which we perfume
Sings a tune that's worth thy knowing."
Editor 1 Interpretation
To Ellen, At The South: A Literary Criticism and Interpretation
Ralph Waldo Emerson is a name that resonates with most people who are familiar with American literature. His poems and essays are an embodiment of the Transcendentalist movement, which was a philosophical and literary movement that emerged in the United States during the early 19th century. Emerson's poem, "To Ellen, At the South," is a beautiful piece of poetry that showcases his literary prowess and his ability to craft intricate and evocative imagery.
Overview of the Poem
"To Ellen, At the South" was written by Emerson in the year 1835. The poem is an ode to Ellen Louisa Tucker, who was Emerson's friend and also the daughter of his mentor, Reverend Charles T. Tucker. Ellen was living in the South at the time, and Emerson wrote the poem as a way of expressing his longing for her and his desire to be reunited with her.
The poem is written in the form of a letter, and it is divided into four stanzas. The first stanza introduces the poem's theme and sets the tone for the rest of the poem. The second and third stanzas contain vivid imagery that describes the natural world and the various sights and sounds that Emerson experiences as he thinks about Ellen. The final stanza is a plea for Ellen to return to the North and be reunited with Emerson.
Analysis of the Poem
Form and Structure
"To Ellen, At the South" is written in the form of a letter, which is a common technique used in Romantic poetry. The use of this form creates an intimate and personal tone that allows Emerson to express his thoughts and feelings directly to Ellen.
The poem is divided into four stanzas, each of which contains four lines. The use of quatrains is a common structural element in poetry, and it allows Emerson to create a consistent rhythm and flow throughout the poem.
The main theme of "To Ellen, At the South" is the longing for connection and the desire for reunion. Emerson's deep affection for Ellen is evident throughout the poem, and he expresses his longing for her in a variety of ways. He describes the natural world in vivid detail, using imagery that is both beautiful and melancholic. This imagery serves to underscore the theme of separation and longing, as Emerson is constantly reminded of Ellen's absence.
One of the most striking aspects of "To Ellen, At the South" is the use of imagery. Emerson's descriptions of the natural world are both vivid and evocative, and they serve to create a sense of atmosphere and mood throughout the poem.
For example, in the second stanza, Emerson describes the evening sky as "A golden fringe on nature's robe, / The falling veil of night." This is a beautiful and poetic image that captures the beauty and majesty of the natural world.
In the third stanza, Emerson uses auditory imagery to describe the sounds of the South. He writes, "The music of the distant drum / Floats faintly on the breeze." This image creates a sense of distance and longing, as Emerson is unable to hear the drum in person and can only experience it from afar.
The tone of "To Ellen, At the South" is one of melancholy and longing. Emerson's deep affection for Ellen is evident throughout the poem, and his desire for reunion is palpable. However, there is also a sense of resignation in the poem, as Emerson knows that Ellen may not be able to return to the North.
Emerson's use of language in "To Ellen, At the South" is both beautiful and poetic. He uses a variety of literary techniques, including metaphor, imagery, and personification, to create a rich and vivid picture of the natural world. His language is also simple and direct, which allows the poem to be easily understood and appreciated by readers.
"To Ellen, At the South" was written during a time of great social and political upheaval in the United States. Slavery was still legal in the South, and tensions were high between the North and the South. Emerson was a vocal opponent of slavery, and his poetry often reflects his political and social views.
"To Ellen, At the South" can be interpreted in a variety of ways, depending on the reader's perspective. Some readers may see the poem as a simple expression of love and longing, while others may see it as a commentary on the social and political issues of the time.
One possible interpretation of the poem is that it represents the tension between the North and the South during the 19th century. Emerson's desire for reunion with Ellen can be seen as a metaphor for the desire for unity between the North and the South. However, the fact that Ellen is living in the South and may not be able to return to the North can be seen as a commentary on the difficulty of achieving unity in a divided nation.
Another interpretation of the poem is that it represents the human longing for connection and love. Emerson's deep affection for Ellen can be seen as a universal emotion that transcends time and place. The imagery of the natural world can be seen as a symbol of the beauty and majesty of human emotions, which can be both joyful and melancholic.
"To Ellen, At the South" is a beautiful and evocative poem that showcases Emerson's literary prowess and his ability to create vivid imagery. The poem is a testament to the power of love and the human longing for connection, and it can be interpreted in a variety of ways depending on the reader's perspective. Overall, "To Ellen, At the South" is a timeless piece of poetry that continues to resonate with readers today.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
To Ellen, At The South: An Analysis of Ralph Waldo Emerson's Classic Poem
Ralph Waldo Emerson is one of the most celebrated poets of the 19th century, and his poem "To Ellen, At The South" is a classic example of his work. This poem is a tribute to Ellen Tucker, a young woman who died at the age of 18. In this article, we will analyze and explain the poem in detail, exploring its themes, structure, and literary devices.
The poem begins with the speaker addressing Ellen, who is now in the afterlife. The speaker expresses his sorrow at her passing, saying that he wishes she were still alive. He then goes on to describe the beauty of the South, where Ellen lived, and how it is a fitting place for her to rest. The poem ends with the speaker saying that he will always remember Ellen and that her memory will live on.
The first thing to note about this poem is its structure. It is written in free verse, which means that it does not follow a strict rhyme or meter. This gives the poem a more natural, conversational tone, which is appropriate for the subject matter. The lack of a strict structure also allows Emerson to focus on the content of the poem, rather than trying to fit it into a specific form.
The poem is divided into three stanzas, each with a different focus. The first stanza is dedicated to Ellen and her passing. The second stanza describes the beauty of the South, and the third stanza reflects on Ellen's memory. This structure allows Emerson to explore different themes and ideas in a clear and organized way.
One of the main themes of the poem is the idea of death and the afterlife. The speaker expresses his sadness at Ellen's passing, but also acknowledges that she is now in a better place. He describes the South as a place of rest and peace, which is a fitting place for Ellen to be. This theme is further emphasized by the use of imagery throughout the poem. The speaker describes the South as a place of "calm repose" and "eternal summer," which creates a sense of peace and tranquility.
Another theme of the poem is the idea of memory and remembrance. The speaker says that he will always remember Ellen, and that her memory will live on. This theme is important because it suggests that even though Ellen is gone, she is not forgotten. Her memory will continue to exist, and she will always be a part of the speaker's life.
The poem also makes use of several literary devices, including imagery, metaphor, and personification. The use of imagery is particularly effective in creating a sense of place and atmosphere. The speaker describes the South as a place of "verdant fields" and "azure skies," which creates a vivid picture in the reader's mind. The use of metaphor is also effective in conveying the speaker's emotions. For example, he describes Ellen as a "flower that withered in its bloom," which creates a sense of sadness and loss.
Finally, the poem is notable for its use of language. Emerson's writing is elegant and poetic, with a lyrical quality that is both beautiful and moving. His use of language is particularly effective in conveying the emotions of the speaker, and in creating a sense of atmosphere and mood.
In conclusion, "To Ellen, At The South" is a classic poem that explores themes of death, memory, and remembrance. Its structure, use of literary devices, and elegant language all contribute to its effectiveness as a work of poetry. Emerson's tribute to Ellen Tucker is a moving and beautiful piece of writing that continues to resonate with readers today.
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